Stampede near Mecca due to two pilgrimage groups going in opposite directions 0Stampede near Mecca due to two pilgrimage groups going in opposite directions 0

The bodies of the victims lay scattered at the scene.

The stampede occurred in Mina, 5km from Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca, during a ritual called `stoning of the devil`.

Two large groups of pilgrims flocked to the same intersection on Street 204, leading to congestion, jostling and jostling.

See more: Progress of the stampede near Mecca

`It’s like a wave. You’re moving forward and suddenly you’re pushed back,` said Mr. Abdullah Lotfy, 44 years old, from Egypt.

Officials said the number of deaths is now 717, while up to 863 people are injured.

`I saw pilgrims falling down and on top of each other, heard women and old people screaming for help,` said a survivor named Abdulrahman.

Abdulrahman eventually sneaked into a camp when the guards weren’t looking.

`I saw the civil defense authorities but they arrived very late. I noticed the lack of emergency exits, because there should be one exit every 50 meters of the road.`

Stampede near Mecca due to two pilgrimage groups going in opposite directions

Map of Mecca and location of the stampede.

Saudi Arabia’s Health Minister blamed undisciplined pilgrims for the incident and said the tragedy would not have happened if they had followed the time schedule established by authorities.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef ordered to clarify the cause of the incident.

The tragedy has renewed doubts about Saudi Arabia’s ability to manage the world’s largest annual pilgrimage.

Iran announced that about 90 of its citizens were killed and 150 were injured.

This is the worst tragedy to occur during the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca in the past 25 years.

In 2006, a similar stampede occurred in Mecca, killing 346 people.

Two weeks ago, a crane collapsed into the Grand Mosque in Mecca, killing 109 people.

Stampede near Mecca due to two pilgrimage groups going in opposite directions

Hundreds of thousands of devotees continued to flock to the pillars of Jamarat to perform the `stoning of the devil` ritual despite the tragedy.

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By Hannah

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